1. Number 1 rule.
The first and probably best tip you will receive as potential authors is READ, READ, READ! Read everything you can get your hands on for your chosen genre. Get intimately acquainted with your local library. Use the internet constantly. If you live in an area where contact with other writers is difficult, browse through your online bookstore for books on writing. There are lots of great books to help you in your chosen craft. Some of the better books will include exercises and give valuable advice from successful authors.
2. Get started.
Write, write, write! There are no rules, no set way of going about it. Follow your heart and write what excites you. If you are passionate about it it will come more easily.
Every writer is different; they think and write differently. If you practice, practice, practice you will grow as a writer and one day hopefully be published. Try to set yourself at least an hour of 'me time' everyday. Use this time to gather your thoughts and let your creative juices flow. Put pen to paper and write. It won't be instantly perfect, but if you don't get started how will you know what you can achieve? It is important to write everyday.
It doesn't matter how many words you write a day as long as you write. Especially if you are a beginner, try and write as much as you can and over time you will find it comes easier. If you get 'writer's block' try fun ways to get the juices flowing again. Visit your local library, sit in your children's room for a while or look at online sites that give you the first sentence to work with. Whatever you do don't set yourself unrealistic goals. That can be more discouraging than encouraging. As you go along you'll be surprised how you surpass previous goals.
When writing, especially if at your computer, avoid the temptation of reading your emails or checking Facebook or other social media sites. These are notorious time wasters and not productive when trying to write. Your writing time should be just that. Time to write!
3. Join groups.
It doesn't matter whether you attend in person or join online groups. The most important thing is get involved. Make friends and useful contacts with other like-minded people. Use these groups to bounce around ideas. You will have people eager to help you. There are lots of writers groups out there always ready to welcome new members. Try your local writers centre, FAW groups or CBCA branches. If you can't find one to suit your writing needs, create a Facebook group or form your own group through your library. You'll be surprised what doors that might open for you. Go along to festivals. Again your local Writers Centre will have detailed lists on their festivals for the coming year. It's always good to have another eye go over your work. They may find things you've missed make suggestions and give you ideas on how to improve your writing. Critiquing others' work will also help you in your writing.
4. Enrol in writing courses.
Enrolling in a course or two or more, will no doubt get your imagination working overtime. They will help unlock ideas and by attending workshops your writing will improve ten-fold.
Enrol in a course run by a reputable organisation; research the presenter. Lots of the more well known published authors run courses themselves. This gives you an extra opportunity to pick their brain at break times.
Courses vary in length – you might find a day course is best suited to you or you might try an evening or even a course run over several weeks. The choices are endless as are the genres that are taught. Attending courses will also introduce you to others who might like to join a group or have one you might like to join.
Submit, submit, submit! Never pass up the opportunity to enter competitions. But make sure you read the guidelines carefully. The judges are busy people too and don't have time to read your work if you haven't taken the time and care to adhere to the entry conditions.
Look up your local Writers' Centre; submit to online newsletters as they all have competition information. Check out our link for competition information. We endeavour to have up to date information but can't promise we'll have all the children's comps listed in Australia.
Use your outlook calendar or phone diary to set yourself deadline reminders.
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one.
"If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist."
- Isaac Asimov